Traits Expected of a Good Mediator

Mediationis a dynamic, structured, interactive process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in resolving conflict through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques. This process is managed, guided, assisted and facilitated by a Mediator. A Mediator’s guides the process in a constructive direction to enable parties to formulate their own solutions.

Sam Imperati, a famous Mediator stated, that “… although many mediation skillsmay be taught, the development of a skilled mediator requires experience in dealing with people in all conditions and under all circumstances.” According toSam, certain traits that a good mediator must have or must aim to possess over a period of time are:

  1. Alertness: this trait requires mindfulness. A Mediator has to be focused andpay attention to every detail, from verbal to non-verbal signs. During mediation a lot of information is exchanged and usually it is not easy to write every detail down. Hence the mediator must be alert and mindful since information is key to successful mediation.
  • Patience and Tact: the process of initiating mediation to finally signing the Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA), is long and arduous. A good Mediator encourages parties to think ahead; what if the process takes longer than anticipated? What if the mediation is not successful and one party considers legal proceedings? This is referred to as ‘reality testing’ and helps the mediator to spend more time with the parties exploring the potential future issues that are of interest to the parties.
  • Credibility: Parties will be drawn to a mediator with good reputation, notonly in the community or society, but also in respect of the way he/she handles the mediation process. A good mediator is unbiased, not judgmental and continuously strives for fairness, transparency and equality. A mediator must be able to present him/herself in a trusted and consistent manner, and keep to commitments made.
  • Persuasive: An effective mediator is highly engaged in the process andmoves parties from point A to B without sounding like a messenger. She/he focuses on the goals and issues, rather than just passing messages from one party to another. Without giving solutions, she/he guides parties to come-up with workable solutions.
  • Confidentiality: Parties to a conflict normally prefer mediation due to thefact that it is confidential, unlike going to court or in some instances, opting for arbitration. Mediators have to reassure confidentiality at every session and must also insist on the same by the parties.

Other very important traits of a good Mediator are trustworthiness, approachability, dedication, perceptiveness, appearance and demeanor, adaptability, impartiality, knowledgeability and intuitiveness.

The CAB mediators appointed by Mowlana Hazar Imam undergo an intensive Orientation, Mediation & Conciliation Training Program and are required to regularly attend Continuous Professional Development sessions. These training programs enable them to learn and acquire the skills needed to be effectivemediators. 

The Conciliation and Arbitration Board (CAB) is constantly focused on improving the skills and knowledge of its mediators, to enable parties in a dispute to arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome.

Information contained in this article has primarily been sourced from the following:

Meanwhile, if you have any questions or wish to have more information on a particular subject relating to CAB’s work, please feel free to contact any CAB member. Our contact information has been placed on all Jamatkhana notice boards.

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